Dublin: 4 °C Friday 23 February, 2024
dear fifi

Dear Fifi: Should I stop banging my housemate?

Dear Fifi, every Tuesday.


I’ve been thinking, rather than mewl on about the passage of time or the state of the weather, I might use this little italicised area to share bits from the internet that made me think this week.

This article in the Guardian about being dumped by friends was interesting – although I’m not sure I really agree with the author’s stance or conclusions. Had a similar experience? Confide in me here.

(Also this Vanity Fair article about a socialite con artist is amazing. It goes without saying to let me know if you’ve had a similar experience… I am agog.) 


Hello Fifi,

Over the last few weeks, I have started sleeping with my housemate, which according to Google is a big no no. The sex is amazing and the best I’ve ever had and they have said the same. I’m worried at some stage it’s gonna go tits up and we’re gonna hate each other. As we’re in the middle of a housing crisis I would hate for things to get so bad that either of us to have to move out. What is the best way to prepare for the worst but also keep enjoying it for what it is? Or should I just listen to Google and stop it immediately?

A good rule of thumb in life is “don’t shit where you eat” but it seems we’re a little late for that. You’ve crossed the Rubicon here: the banging has been done, so you need to deal with it like a grown-up, one way or another. So what’s next?

As far as I see it, there are a few possible outcomes here. Let’s break it down:

  • The physical relationship goes on for a while but runs its course with no one getting hurt and no feelings developing (best case scenario; unlikely enough)
  • One of you develops more complicated feelings and the other does not (this feels very likely to me)
  • You decide you’re not into it any more and want to end it
  • They end it
  • You fall madly in love and the credits roll

So let’s go.

Keeping it physical

If you’re going to keep this firmly in the realm of the physical, you need to start being open, honest and regular with your communication. Set the boundaries and parameters, and be clear about what this is and when it will end – for example, what if one of you meets someone you like? Or wants to go on a Tinder date? Brings an ex home? Or has a one night stand after a night out? Discuss all eventualities. Make a plan. And agree to tell one another if anything changes.

Put yourself in control of the fun. Contain the possibility for disaster by acknowledging it and safeguarding against it. It actually takes a lot of spadework to keep things casual. Be sensible – and if you can’t talk to this person frankly about the banging you’re doing, then realistically you shouldn’t be doing it.

When it gets complicated

If one of you develops feelings and the other doesn’t? Well… This is by far the hardest to deal with. It’s pretty much the reason people tend not to bang their housemates. (Well, that and because usually you hate them too much over leaving teabags by the sink etc to even countenance the idea.)

Sex tends to complicate things. You mention the physical element being good, but you don’t mention if you find your housemate sound, funny, easy to be around or a prospective partner – or if they feel that way about you. Is this likely? Do you think the balance of power is a little off in terms of who likes one another more? How will they handle being told no, or seeing you with someone else down the line?

Be honest with yourself and assess where it’s really headed. Decide if potentially more complicated romantic feelings down the road may present trouble. If so, and you don’t think you can come to a sensible arrangement where no one’s feelings are silently hurt, I think you should extricate yourself now.

If your gut says ‘fucking disaster’ then I think you should listen.

Cutting it off

If you decide you’re not into it, stopping abruptly is not the best option as it may lead to confusion, which leads to resentment. Develop an exit strategy for yourself if and when you want it to end. Again, this involves transparency and communication. Explain your reasons for wanting the physical side of things to stop – and mean it. This is not the time to flip-flop and mess them around.

Cut it off cleanly. It’s very important to try hard not to slip up. Be open to talking it out if it feels weird, but give them their space. Be sound.

Getting dumped

As with all break-ups: respect their decision and leave it alone. It’ll be hard to distance yourself totally from this person of course, but at the minimum you’ll need to avoid trigger situations where banging normally arose. Get out of the house as much as practicable and re-download Tinder.

And finally… The Richard Curtis

If both of you start feeling warm and coupley in tandem, then you’ve basically just skipped a few years of courtship and gone straight to live-in partners. Fair play. You’ve just made your future best man’s speech a lot easier.


Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Check out previous advice>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel